Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in SoHo, NYC

  • Published 2022/10/16

New York City has plenty of exceptional places, including the world-renowned SoHo district in downtown Manhattan.

SoHo, short for “the south of Houston,” is an art scene haven and shopping neighborhood.

You’ll find this trendy borough west of Little Italy surrounded by Houston Street, Lafayette Street, and Broadway’s western portion.

During the ’70s and ’80s, SoHo became best known as an art paradise.

In recent decades, however, it has emerged as a shopping district where you can find top brands worldwide.

It is considered one of the best places to live in the Big Apple.

It has unique cafes and restaurants, various entertainment hubs, and hippie pop-up stores.

On top of this, it has astonishing world-class architecture, evident in its cast-iron buildings.

SoHo’s trendy backdrop is undeniably a leading location for movies and even random TikTok videos.

Likewise, these best things to do in SoHo, New York City, will make your stay a fun and memorable experience.

Check Out Pop-up Events around SoHo’s Streets

People line up outside a pop-up store

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Numerous pop-up events are happening around New York City, and the streets of SoHo are not an exemption.

Depending on the season, you can discover pop-up events in different corners of the district, from food stalls and installations to shops and cafes.

You’ll never find SoHo a lonely and boring place, as it’s a haven for locals from day till night.

Oat milk store pop-up

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Due to its never-ending foot traffic, brands and companies love putting up pop-up events and stores in SoHo.

If you are in the neighborhood, don’t forget to check out these events to enjoy the great SoHo street experience.

Clothing store pop-up

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Eat and Play at the Museum of Ice Cream

Exterior of the Museum of Ice Cream

Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Museum of Ice Cream is a family-friendly destination in SoHo that lets you taste and experience everything about your all-time favorite dessert.

Located at 558 Broadway, the three-story museum has 13 all-new art installations inside its 25,000-square-feet area.

Aside from its interactive installations where you can learn about ice cream’s history, you and your kids will surely love dipping into its vast sprinkle pool.

You can even try going down its indoor slide, dubbed New York City’s highest.

Of course, the Museum of Ice Cream will never be complete without tasting the lovely dessert.

You can eat unlimited ice cream in various shapes and forms.

Once done with ice cream, you can buy other delights in its café and bar and try out their cocktails, specialty sundaes, and milkshakes.

Learn about Queer Culture at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art

If you are eager to learn more about the LGBTQIA+ community in SoHo, your first stop should be the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art.

Charles Leslie and Fritz Lohman founded the museum in 1969 as a small exhibit for gay artists in their tiny SoHo loft.

In 1987, the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation was formed to champion the rich and diverse history of the LGBTQIA+ community.

In 2016, it was accredited as a museum, stirring thought-provoking conversations about social justice through its exhibitions, publications, and growing collection of artworks.

The show has since supported gay artists and even rescued collections from artists who died from AIDS.

The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, located at 26 Wooster St., currently houses 25,000 objects for visitors to check out.

Buy a Book at Housing Works Bookstore Café

Interior of the Housing Works Bookstore Café

Marginalmonkeys, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Housing Works Bookstore Café is one of New York City’s established downtown institutions.

Housing Works, a healing community for people with HIV/AIDS, runs the bookstore-café, which opened in 1998.

It became a tourist spot where people come to buy books, eat, and share good conversations over a cup of coffee.

The café is also open for private events and serves fresh food, pastries, salad, sandwiches, and drinks like coffee, tea, beer, and wine.

Books inside the Housing Works Bookstore Café

Jessica B. Kirk /

Volunteers of the institution man the bookstore and café, making it an ideal space for community volunteerism.

When you buy from the bookstore, 30 percent of the proceeds go directly to Housing Works for their lifesaving services directed toward low-income New Yorkers suffering from HIV/AIDS.

Each purchase at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe at 126 Crosby St. will be worth it, knowing that a portion of your payment goes to people in need.

Join Walking Tours around Manhattan Neighborhoods

Tall buildings around SoHo

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The Big Apple is the largest city in the US and is one of the best places to try guided city tours.

You can join walking tours around Manhattan, including SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown, where you’ll learn more about each place’s history and diverse culture.

Walking through the districts’ cobblestone streets will show you where to shop or eat and where to find exclusive places from an insider’s perspective.

Entrance to Little Italy

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Walking tours in SoHo, in particular, typically start at your hotel or in a specified meeting place before you explore the district on foot.

The tours usually last two to three hours, depending on your pace, and are typically conducted in the morning.

Make sure to don comfortable walking shoes, and bring your shades, bottled water, and a trusty camera to enjoy the duration of your walking tour.

Night scene at Chinatown

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Learn about Drawing at the Drawing Center

Entrance to the Drawing Center

Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

SoHo has a thriving art scene, and one of its top destinations for art lovers is The Drawing Center on Wooster Street.

Founded by art curator Martha Beck in 1977, this exhibition space in downtown Manhattan is a unique place to learn about drawing.

Exterior of the Drawing Center

Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll find different works of art that feature the medium’s importance in creative expression, culture, and the future landscape of art.

Aside from its yearlong exhibits, the Drawing Center is also a popular SoHo venue for various art programs hosted by local schools in New York City.

Indulge in Pizza at Lombardi’s

Lombardi’s is the oldest pizzeria in the city and the United States.

Established in 1905 by Gennaro Lombardi, this restaurant in Little Italy is known for its crisp pies baked in coal ovens.

Topped with pure tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella, and other unique ingredients, locals and tourists alike love coming back to this old pizzeria for that New York-style pizza experience.

When you are visiting here, make sure to try oven-roasted red peppers on top of your pizza for that one-of-a-kind experience.

Aside from offering pizza, Lombardi’s also guarantees excellent appetizers, chicken specialties, and pasta.

Find Vintage Luxury Brands at What Goes Around Comes Around

Women with shopping bags at What Goes Around Comes Around

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What Goes Around Comes Around is a renowned SoHo boutique for vintage pieces.

The shop, founded in 1993, has a buying team who travels worldwide to discover authentic and rare pieces from various luxury brands.

The flagship store in SoHo houses limited pieces from fashion giants.

You will find Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel items, making it a top-of-mind place for celebrities, VIPs, and stylists who love shopping vintage items for a good deal.

If you are on a mission to find vintage luxury pieces, you will surely enjoy spending your whole day at What Goes Around Comes Around.

Go Shopping along Broadway

Michael Kors at Broadway

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If you are in SoHo solely for shopping purposes, you should never miss going to Broadway.

This long street at the heart of SoHo houses flagship stores from luxury brands like Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Moschino, and Prada, among others.

Along this street, you can also shop from mainstream brands like Uniqlo, H&M, TopShop, and AllSaints.

Uniqlo at Broadway

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Not only will you find clothing brands on Broadway, but you will also stumble upon shops for footwear, jewelry, preloved deals, limited edition magazines and books, and eclectic home decor and household items.

On weekends, you’ll find one-of-a-kind items worthy of your attention.

In West Broadway, you’ll see various products, such as jewelry, paintings, art collections, and books.

Victoria's secret at Broadway

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Take Photographs of the Cast-Iron Buildings along Broome Street

Buildings along Broome Street

AevanStock /

Your camera will love every bit of the Big Apple.

Just walk around SoHo, and you’ll find yourself shutter-happy with fashionable locals, spectacular window displays of brands, and tourists enjoying every bit of the SoHo culture.

If you are not into capturing images from the streets, you can try to look up and admire SoHo’s picturesque architectural landscape.

Cast-iron building at Broome Street

Christian Mueller /

New York City has over 250 cast-iron buildings sprawled across the metropolitan, the majority of which are in SoHo.

You can find most of these cast-iron buildings on Broome Street and Broadway.

These distinct buildings, with their unique fire escape staircases, appear in movies and commercials, as SoHo is a typical shooting location.

Street sign of Broome Street

Ryan DeBerardinis /

Get a Piercing at Studs in SoHo

Amp up your SoHo visit with additional bling.

Get your ear pierced at Studs in SoHo, a famous piercing studio that also offers trendy jewelry to match your ear.

This shop at Prince Street is known for its custom earscaping services that boost one’s self-expression and confidence.

A piercing specialist will determine the right area to put on your new jewelry and use sanitized needles for your earscaping appointments.

If you are not keen on getting your ears pierced, you can still check out this studio if you want to buy some new ear accessories and earscape sets.

Rent a Bike from Citi Bike

Citi Bike bicycles parked on the street

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If walking tours are not your thing, you can try biking around the area and exploring what SoHo offers.

You can jump from one museum to another or go on a food trip with your friends in SoHo’s various cafes and restaurants.

You can take one bike from the city’s bike-share program, Citi Bike.

Several bike rental shops are located in SoHo and the nearby Brooklyn Bridge Bike Rental.

Line of Citi Bike bicycles

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Unlimited 30-minute rides and three-day passes are available at low rates from Citi Bike.

Locals love biking for quick errands, so you will blend right in with them when you tour the city on two wheels.

Once you are done exploring SoHo, you can start biking around the rest of Manhattan and start with a ride around Central Park Loop.

People biking around SoHo using Citi Bike

Ryan Rahman /

Get Covered with Slime at Sloomoo Institute

Signage of Sloomoo Institute

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As a unique and fun experience to enjoy with your family and friends, Sloomoo Institute’s slime amusement center unleashes your inner child.

What was supposed to be just a pop-up slime art event became a permanent attraction because the public loved it.

Sloomoo Institute offers an art installation and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math program within its 8,000-square-foot space.

It has slime experiment activities, a DIY slime bar, and private events for kids and even adults during nighttime.

Indulge in the mesmerizing and satisfying world of slime as you get covered with goo while wearing a poncho.

You can even grab souvenirs from the Sloomoo Institute shop and buy slime kits, sensory toys, merch, and gift cards.

Watch a Classic Film at Film Forum

Exterior of Film Forum

Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Film Forum at West Houston Street is a must-visit movie theater established in 1970 as an autonomous and non-profit screening space for independent films.

The four-screen cinema has 500 seats for guests and shows award-winning films from Cannes, Venice, and other film festivals worldwide.

If you want to visit Film Forum with a kid, you can check out their series of movies for the young.

In 2013, repertory programmer Bruce Goldstein launched Film Forum Jr. to showcase classic films suitable for children.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Discover Contemporary Art at Kate Werble Gallery

One of Soho’s highly recognized galleries, the Kate Werble Gallery, has moved to East 73rd Street, New York City, just an easy 40-minute ride from the neighborhood.

It features contemporary artists in their 30s, like Columbia MFA sculptor Brock Enright.

Artist Kate Werble opened the gallery in 2008.

Today, the art gallery houses exciting exhibitions of innovative art from different artists.

You’ll find humorous and rebellious art pieces like paintings, photographs, sculptures, and even large-scale installations.

The Kate Werble Gallery is also a favorite venue for artist-run events and programs throughout New York City.

Final Thoughts

SoHo pops with diverse activities for visitors.

If you are in the neighborhood for a couple of days, try these best things to do in SoHo, New York City.

You’ll never regret going on a trip in this dynamic district.

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